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2009 Ford F-150 Preview

2009 Ford F-150 Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2008
Critical Knowledge:
  • Complete redesign for Ford's half-ton pickup

  • New corporate 3-bar grille design

  • Three cab styles, four box options

  • Increased hauling and towing capacity

  • Seven trim levels including new range-topping Platinum

  • All-V-8-engine lineup

  • Diesel and gasoline direct-injection turbo engines planned for 2010

  • Available Sync and Sirius Travel Link

  • On sale Fall 2008


Introduction
Just five years after introducing the current-generation F-150-a remarkably short product cycle by pickup truck standards-Ford is once again redesigning the half-ton F-150. As with the current generation truck, the emphasis of the 2009 redesign is on comfort, style and functionality. Ford claims that over 1000 engineers, designers, researchers and others worked on the F-150, and that the majority of their design inspiration came from talking to pickup owners. The new F-150 will be built in Dearborn, Michigan and Claycomo, Missouri, and will arrive at dealerships in the autumn of 2008.

Model lineup
Along with the usual F-150 trim levels-base XL, mid-range XLT, high-end Lariat and King Ranch, sporty STX and off-road FX4-Ford is introducing a new top-of-the-line Platinum model for 2009. The Platinum is identified from the outside by its satin-chrome grille with mesh inserts and 20-inch aluminum wheels, and inside by its 10-way power adjustable leather captain's chairs with "tuxedo stitching" and wood and brushed-aluminum trim.

Exterior Design
The 2009 Ford F-150 builds on the blocky styling theme established by the current-generation F-150. The new grille employs the 3-bar theme common to other Ford designs, while squared off headlights and a tall, bulging hood give the F-150 a family resemblance to the larger F-Series Super Duty pickups. Out back, the 3-bar theme is repeated in the sculpted tailgate. The new F-150 features 12 different wheel designs, ranging from a simple 17-inch stamped-steel wheel for the F-150 XL to 16-spoke, 20-inch polished aluminum wheels for the F-150 Platinum. Optional side steps ahead of the rear wheel make it easier to load items into the tall bed; they slide under the truck at the touch of a button when not in use. A folding tailgate step, first offered on the 2008 Super Duty, will be available on the 2009 F-150. Other optional features include a cargo management system, tailgate bed extender, and the Midbox, which provides lockable storage with slide-out drawers between the cab and the bed.

Interior Design
Like the exterior, the interior in the 2009 model is an evolved version of the current F-150's design theme. Improvements include new, more comfortable seats (maker claims); a more ergonomic console-mounted shifter; and door panels shaped to provide more elbow room. Since many pickup owners use their trucks as mobile offices, the front seat's center console has been lengthened by two inches, making it large enough to accommodate a pair of laptops, while ridges molded into the edges are sized to accommodate file folders. Ford claims that more than 30 separate storage areas have been built into the 2009 F-150's interior.

The 2009 F-150 will be available with a regular cab, extended Super Cab, and full-size Super Crew cab. The Super Crew has been stretched by 6 inches and the B-pillars have been relocated for better visibility. The back seat features a flat floor and an articulated rear seat that can be folded against the back wall of the cab, an operation that Ford claims can be done with one hand.

Hardware
The 2009 F-150 rides on a new fully-boxed frame that delivers 10-percent more tensional rigidity, the automaker says, which allowed Ford engineers to improve the F-150's towing and hauling capabilities. The F-150 will initially be offered with a choice of three V-8 engines: a 4.6-liter engine with 2 valves per cylinder, which Ford says will deliver the same fuel economy as the outgoing F-150's V-6 engine; a new 3-valve-per-cylinder, 4.6-liter V-8 engine; and the familiar 3-valve, 5.4-liter Triton V-8 engine. The 5.4- and 4.6-liter 3-valve V-8 engines are backed by a 6-speed automatic transmission, while the 4.6 2-valve gets a 4-speed automatic transmission. Ford plans to add a turbo-diesel engine as well as a turbocharged gasoline direct-injection engine to the F-150 lineup in 2010.

Safety
Standard safety features on the 2009 Ford F-150 include front air bags, seat-mounted side air bags, anti-lock brakes, and Ford's Roll Stability Control electronic stability control system with trailer sway control. A rearview camera is optional, as is an integrated electric trailer brake controller. This feature, which was first introduced on the F-series Super Duty, allows the driver to manually apply trailer brakes via a squeeze-type controller.

Technology
The new Sync system, designed in conjunction with Microsoft, provides Bluetooth mobile phone compatibility, including the ability to read and send text messages, as well as voice control of iPod and Zune music players. The optional navigation system includes voice recognition, an 8-inch touch screen, and available Sirius Travel Link, which provides real-time traffic and weather as well as gas prices at over 120,000 filling stations nationwide. The F-150 features a capless fuel filler system which, Ford says, seals itself shut when the fuel nozzle is removed, reducing evaporative emissions and eliminating the problem of a loose gas cap triggering the Check Engine light.
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